The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Wednesday approved the first over-the-counter naloxone nasal spray, The New York Times reports.
The nasal spray, sold under the brand name Narcan, is an opioid overdose antidote. Public health officials hope that making Narcan available over-the-counter will reduce fatal opioid overdoses. “Today’s action paves the way for the life-saving medication to reverse an opioid overdose to be sold directly to consumers in places like drug stores, convenience stores, grocery stores and gas stations, as well as online,” the FDA said in a statement.
Cost may still be a deterrent to obtaining Narcan, the article notes. A two-dose pack of prescription Narcan is often free or has a co-pay of less than $10. Currently, public and private insurance programs do not cover most over-the-counter medications, and it is not known whether an exception will be made for Narcan. This month, a two-dose box of prescription Narcan cost $98 for customers without insurance at a big-box pharmacy in Manhattan, while another pharmacy chain in New Jersey was charging $73.